I knew I had dodged a dumdum bullet almost three years earlier when I walked out of Waymaker. I already had some idea what I might have become had I let them bend my brain. But for at least the third time, one of my former compatriots had taken advantage of a desire to maintain something approaching a normal friendship.
That was the only plausible explanation for how Elaine Danielson blatantly lied to me about how she’d been quoted in an article for the DTH. It looked like she’d assumed I’d simply take the word of a fellow Spirit-filled believer. If that was the case–and it sure looked like it was–then at some point Elaine had stopped seeing me as a friend and seeing me as a potential notch in her Bible. In other words, she’d fully embraced the prevailing mentality in Waymaker.
Whenever I saw examples of this, I thought back to something that happened the first time I set foot at TCF/KPIC. We had loaded up Perry’s van to get ready to head back to Chapel Hill when Perry had to break up a fight between two of his charges in the youth ministry. He spent somewhere around 10 to 15 minutes talking with them.
It was a sign Perry cared about them individually. Rather than simply bundle them off to their parents and let them handle it after a cursory conversation, he actually took the time to talk to them. That was what made his dismissive attitude about Pastor Ron hiding his Maranatha past hard to understand. You would think a guy who cared enough about the well-being of the kids in the youth ministry would know that continuing to do Pastor Ron’s bidding put the Waymakers’ futures at risk–and in turn, put him, Danielle, Morgan, Aaron and Rita in great legal danger.
The Waymakers’ “so what?” reaction to Pastor Ron’s deceit was the first of many signs I’d seen during my sophomore year that they took a transactional approach to friendships and other interactions. It looked like they saw nearly every opportunity under the sun as a potential chance to preach at someone, slip them a tract, etc. And apparently all was fair in doing so.
A week after Labor Day, I got a revealing reminder of just how deep this mentality ran. I spied a printout of an email near the Undergraduate Library, but when I was about to throw it away, I noticed it was an email to the Waymakers’ listserv. Marina Delton had forwarded a message from Denise Mason about a new program to help foreign exchange students find friends at Carolina. Denise giddily mentioned how this was a potential bonanza to win them to Jesus.
The implication was obvious–they saw this as a possible opportunity to funnel these kids into Waymaker and KPIC. I knew that they saw telling people about Jesus as the ultimate act of friendship. But to take advantage of internationals in this way? They were no different from vultures.
Fortunately, the contact information for the program was in the email. I wasted little time setting up a meeting with the person in charge of the program. She assured me that this was not something that she intended her program to be, and assured me she would nip it in the bud. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when Denise walked into a meeting, only to find her own words essentially wadded up and thrown at her.
To my mind, this was yet more evidence this bunch had to be taken down. This was as blatant a case of deceit as I’d ever seen from them. If all went well, I was now just a few weeks away from starting the process of effectively putting Waymaker and KPIC out of business.